If the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it might be down to your lawnmower, not your outlook on life.
Brown or yellow grass can often be caused by damaged lawnmower blades, yet many gardeners are quick to blame the sun.
Unfortunately, there’s more to lawn-mowing than pushing a mower around the garden twice a month, and neglecting a few simple chores can really cause your lawn to suffer. Here’s how to keep your lawn, and mower, in good condition.
Learn when to cut the grass
You should mow the lawn when the grass is around an inch longer than you’d like it to be. If you mow the lawn too often, the colour will suffer. A neat lawn means nothing if the grass isn’t healthy!
On the other hand, you don’t want to wait until your cat thinks the garden’s a jungle, either. Not only does long grass clog up the mower, but you’re more likely to damage the blades by hitting unseen rocks, twigs and tennis balls. Which brings us onto our next point:
Remove debris from your lawn before mowing it
It’s common sense to move garden furniture, pick up pet toys and get rid of large sticks before mowing, but small objects can damage your mower, too. Stones and rocks often go unnoticed — even in short grass — and can bend, kink and crack your lawnmower blades in seconds.
You should be able to clear the lawn by hand if you do it methodically. Take particular care in windy weather, when tree branches and fallen fruit are likely to make their way onto your lawn. A replacement blade can cost you anything between £10 and £40, so it really does pay to prevent damage!
Check blades regularly
Lawnmower blades should be changed at least once a season, and sharpened once a month (more often, if you have a large lawn). Blunt or damaged blades can make your lawn look rough and shredded.
If your grass has been damaged in this way, it won’t be absorbing nutrients properly, which can lead to an unhealthy, brown lawn. Water the grass, spray it with fertilizer and sharpen or replace your blades before the next cut.
Rest the lawnmower on its side (air filter facing up), disconnect the spark plug and unscrew the blades with a screwdriver. Dented, nicked or cracked blades need replacing, whereas blunt ones can be sharpened with a hard file or power grinder. If using the latter, make sure the blade doesn’t get too hot.
It pays to have a replacement blade or two in the shed, as you never know when your blade is going to get damaged. It’s better to stop mid-mow and replace a bent blade (if you’re lucky enough to notice it) than damage the rest of the lawn by finishing.
You may be tempted to leave your lawn to “heal” after it’s been damaged, but you’d do better to keep up your mowing schedule so that damaged grass is removed sooner rather than later. Think of it as trimming your split ends!